Stone Cold Steve Austin
|Stone Cold Steve Austin|
Austin at the San Diego Comic-Con International in 2010.
|Born||Steven James Anderson
December 18, 1964
Austin, Texas, United States
|Residence||Tilden, Texas, United States
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Alma mater||University of North Texas|
|Occupation||Professional wrestler, actor, producer|
|Years active||1989–2003 (wrestler)
|Spouse(s)||Kathryn Burrhus (m. 1990–92)
Jeanie Clarke (m. 1992–99)
Debra Marshall (m. 2000–03)
Kristin Feres (m. 2009)
|Professional wrestling career|
|Ring name(s)||The Ringmaster
|Billed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Billed weight||252 lb (114 kg)|
|Billed from||Victoria, Texas|
|Trained by||Chris Adams|
Steve Austin (born Steven James Anderson on December 18, 1964, later Steven James Williams), better known by his ring name "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, is an American actor, media personality, producer, and retired professional wrestler who is signed to a legends contract for WWE.
He gained significant mainstream popularity in the WWE (then known as the World Wrestling Federation) in the late 1990s as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, a disrespectful, beer-drinking antihero who routinely defied the establishment and his boss, company chairman Mr. McMahon; this persona of Austin's has been described as the "poster boy" of the Attitude Era, a boom period in WWF business in the late 1990s and early 2000s and was one of the biggest factors in helping the WWF win the ratings war against their competition World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
Addressing his box office drawing power, McMahon and former WWE executives Jim Ross and Paul Heyman have declared Austin to be the most profitable wrestler in the history of the organization. Ross asserted: "Nobody touches Austin... No-one generated more cash in the length of their WWE career". Industry veterans and multiple-time WWE Champions Ric Flair, John Cena and CM Punk have each named Austin as the biggest star in WWE history, and, along with McMahon, have stressed that he surpassed the popularity of Hulk Hogan. Austin also devised the long-standing "What?" chant in pro wrestling.
Austin held 19 championships throughout his wrestling career; he is a six-time WWF Champion, a two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, and a four-time WWF Tag Team Champion, thus making him the fifth Triple Crown Champion in WWE history. He was also the winner of the 1996 King of the Ring tournament, as well as the 1997, 1998, and 2001 Royal Rumbles, making him the only three-time winner of the event. Furthermore, under The Ringmaster moniker, he was awarded the unsanctioned Million Dollar Championship by the "Million Dollar Man" Ted DiBiase.
He has headlined multiple pay-per-view events for the WWF, including three WrestleManias (XIV, XV, and X-Seven). He was forced to retire from in-ring competition in 2003 due to a series of knee injuries and a serious neck injury. Throughout the rest of 2003 and 2004, he was featured as the Co-General Manager and "Sheriff" of Raw. Since 2005, he has continued to make occasional appearances, and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009 by Vince McMahon. In 2011, Austin returned to WWE to host the reboot of the reality series Tough Enough.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Professional wrestling career
- 2.1 Early career (1989–1991)
- 2.2 World Championship Wrestling (1991–1995)
- 2.3 Extreme Championship Wrestling (1995)
- 2.4 World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment/WWE
- 2.4.1 The Ringmaster (1995–1996)
- 2.4.2 Austin 3:16 (1996–1997)
- 2.4.3 Feud with Vince McMahon (1997–1999)
- 2.4.4 Injury and return (1999–2001)
- 2.4.5 The Invasion (2001–2002)
- 2.4.6 Last feuds, walkout, and retirement (2002–2003)
- 2.4.7 Co-General Manager and Sheriff of Raw (2003–2004)
- 2.4.8 Sporadic appearances (2005–present)
- 3 Other media
- 4 Personal life
- 5 Bibliography
- 6 In wrestling
- 7 Championships and accomplishments
- 8 Notes
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Austin was born in Austin, Texas. His parents, James and Beverly Anderson, divorced when he was around a year old. His mother, Beverly, moved to Victoria, Texas and married Ken Williams. Austin adopted his stepfather's surname and legally changed his name to Steven James Williams. He spent most of his childhood in Edna, Texas. After finishing his schooling from Edna High School, Austin got a football scholarship at Wharton County Junior College, followed by a full scholarship at the University of North Texas.
Austin has three brothers, Scott, Kevin, and Jeff and one little sister, Jennifer. Kevin is less than a year younger and Austin has hypothesized in his autobiography that their father may have left because he couldn't handle having another child so soon.
Professional wrestling career
Early career (1989–1991)
Deciding to become a wrestler, Austin joined Chris Adams' school in the Dallas Sportatorium, where Adams also wrestled for World Class Championship Wrestling (WCCW). Adams' training was purely technical, teaching Austin the moves, but nothing relating to kayfabe (still somewhat a guarded secret at the time) or business. His first lesson in that came from Tony Falk, the referee in his 1989 televised WCCW debut against Frogman LeBlanc, who called the spots to lead him to a pinfall and a $40 payday.
Initially working under his real name, he was named "Steve Austin" by Memphis booker Dutch Mantell during the merger of World Class and the Continental Wrestling Association into the United States Wrestling Association (to avoid confusion with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams, a well-known wrestler during that time). He later returned to Dallas and feuded with Adams, managed by Percy Pringle and accompanied by Jeannie Adams (Adams' real-life former wife and Austin's girlfriend at the time). It was during this time Austin adopted the "Stunning" nickname that followed him to WCW.
World Championship Wrestling (1991–1995)
Austin left the USWA in 1990 and signed with WCW the next year. He was originally paired with a valet named Vivacious Veronica, but was later joined by Jeannie Adams, known as "Lady Blossom". Just weeks after his debut, Austin defeated Bobby Eaton for his first WCW World Television Championship on June 3, 1991. Later that year, Austin joined Paul E. Dangerously's Dangerous Alliance. Austin lost the WCW World Television Championship to Barry Windham in a two out of three falls match on April 27, 1992. He regained the title from Windham on May 23. Austin enjoyed a second lengthy reign as champion before losing the title to Ricky Steamboat on September 2, 1992. The Dangerous Alliance disbanded shortly thereafter. At Halloween Havoc, he replaced Terry Gordy, teaming with "Dr. Death" Steve Williams to wrestle Dustin Rhodes and Barry Windham for the unified WCW and NWA World Tag Team Championships. The teams wrestled to a thirty-minute time limit draw.
In January 1993, Austin formed a tag team known as The Hollywood Blondes with Brian Pillman. They won the WCW World Tag Team Championship on March 3 by defeating Ricky Steamboat and Shane Douglas. The Hollywood Blondes held the title for five months. At Clash of the Champions XXIII, the Blondes faced Ric Flair and Arn Anderson in a two out of three falls tag team title match. Flair and Anderson defeated the Blondes, but were not awarded the title as one fall had been determined by a disqualification. At Clash of the Champions XXIV, Austin and Pillman were scheduled to defend their title against Anderson and Paul Roma. A legitimate injured Pillman, however, was replaced by Steven Regal. Austin and Regal lost to Anderson and Roma. With Pillman still injured, Austin joined Colonel Robert Parker's Stud Stable. After Pillman returned, Austin betrayed and defeated him in a singles match at Clash of the Champions XXV.
At Starrcade, in a two out of three falls match, Austin defeated Dustin Rhodes in two straight falls to win the WCW United States Heavyweight Championship. Austin lost the title to Ricky Steamboat on August 24, 1994. Austin was scheduled to face Steamboat in a rematch for the title at Fall Brawl, but Steamboat was unable to wrestle due to a legit back injury, and Austin was awarded the title by forfeit. His second reign with the title ended just minutes later when he lost to Steamboat's replacement, Jim Duggan, in a match that lasted thirty-five seconds. Austin unsuccessfully challenged Duggan for the United States Championship at both Halloween Havoc and Clash of the Champions XXIX. After returning from a knee injury in early 1995, Austin took part in a tournament for the vacant WCW United States Heavyweight title, where he defeated Duggan via countout in the first round, but lost to "Macho Man" Randy Savage in the quarterfinals.
In 1995, Austin was fired by WCW Vice President Eric Bischoff, after suffering a triceps injury, while wrestling on a Japanese tour; Bischoff and WCW did not see Austin as a marketable wrestler. Also, Bischoff thought Austin was hard to work with. Austin described his opinion on being fired over the phone as Bischoff having taken the coward's way out. Bischoff in a round table discussion claimed he fired Austin after he refused to do a taping in Atlanta.
Extreme Championship Wrestling (1995)
Eventually, Austin was contacted by Paul Heyman of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), who had managed him in WCW. Heyman hired Austin to do in-ring interviews, as he still had not recovered from his injury enough to wrestle. While in ECW, Austin used the platform to develop his future "Stone Cold" persona as well as a series of vignettes running down WCW in general and Bischoff in particular, most memorably in several promos that mocked his then-status as Nitro host by introducing Monday NyQuil, where he was joined by "Bongo" (a set of drums, meant to represent Steve "Mongo" McMichael) in promoting the show "where the big boys play with each other". Also, several wrestlers credited ECW as the place where Austin developed his microphone skills. Austin credits Paul Heyman as the man who taught him how to cut a promo.
While with ECW, Austin was known as "Superstar" Steve Austin. He had a match with The Sandman and feuded with Mikey Whipwreck. Whipwreck, who was the ECW World Heavyweight Champion at the time, defeated Austin at November to Remember. The Sandman defeated Austin and Whipwreck in a triple threat match at December to Dismember in 1995 for the ECW World Heavyweight Championship. Heyman would later state that he had wanted Austin to win the ECW title, but Austin had refused because he felt he was more effective "as the hunter, rather than the hunted".
World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment/WWE
The Ringmaster (1995–1996)
In late 1995, Austin joined the WWF after Diesel and Jim Ross helped convince WWF's owner Vince McMahon to hire him. Austin debuted on the January 8, 1996 edition of Raw and his first match saw him get a win over Matt Hardy. Initially, Austin wrestled as The Ringmaster and was managed by Ted DiBiase, who awarded him with the Million Dollar Championship. However, Austin thought the Ringmaster idea was weak, and so asked for a change. The WWF gave Austin a list with names including Otto Von Ruthless, Ice Dagger, Fang McFrost and Chilli McFreeze. Austin soon shaved his head bald and grew a goatee,"The Ringmaster" Steve Austin; this prefix would be discarded in favor of his most famous moniker, "Stone Cold", in early March 1996. He defeated Savio Vega in his first WrestleMania appearance, at WrestleMania XII. At In Your House: Beware of Dog, Austin lost a Caribbean Strap match to Vega. In accordance to the pre-match stipulations, DiBiase was forced to leave the WWF, giving Austin the opportunity to forge his own path. Austin later told announcer Dok Hendrix that he had purposely lost the match in order to rid himself of DiBiase, who in reality was headed for rival promotion WCW.
Austin 3:16 (1996–1997)
Austin's rise to stardom began at the 1996 King of the Ring. He began using his trademark finishing maneuver, the Stone Cold Stunner; with this new technique, he won the King of the Ring tournament. After defeating Marc Mero in the semi-finals, Austin defeated Jake "The Snake" Roberts in the finals. The Stunner debuted on June 8, 1996 on Superstars when he defeated jobber Jason Arndt, who later became known as Joey Abs a member of the Mean Street Posse. At the time, Roberts was portraying a born-again Christian, so after the match, Austin cut a now famous promo during his coronation, telling Roberts, "You sit there and you thump your Bible, and you say your prayers, and it didn't get you anywhere! Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16... Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass!". "Austin 3:16" ultimately became one of the most popular catchphrases in wrestling history, and subsequently the slogan became one of the best-selling T-shirts in WWE merchandise history. It is also credited as the iconic moment that began the WWF's "Attitude Era".
Austin spoke about Bret Hart, challenging him constantly and taunting him relentlessly. Hart finally accepted Austin's challenge and returned to the WWF in October 1996. At Survivor Series, in a match to determine the number-one contender to the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, Hart pinned Austin when Hart used the turnbuckle to push himself backwards while locked in the Million Dollar Dream and pinned Austin, this match would go on to create the foundations for the eventual year-long feud between the two. The match came hot on the heels of an incident broadcast live on Raw, which saw Austin "break into" Brian Pillman's house, with Pillman holding a gun. During the 1997 Royal Rumble match, Austin was originally eliminated by Bret Hart, but the officials did not see it, and he snuck back into the ring and eliminated Hart by throwing him over the ropes, winning the match himself. This led to the first-ever pay-per-view main event of Austin's WWF career at In Your House 13: Final Four, after Shawn Michaels suffered a knee injury and left the WWF World Heavyweight Championship suddenly vacant. Austin was eliminated early from the four-way match at In Your House 13 for the title after injuring his own knee, but was involved in the finish which saw Hart win his fourth WWF World Heavyweight Championship, which he lost the next night on Raw to Sycho Sid due to Austin's interference, continuing his feud with Hart. At WrestleMania 13, Hart defeated Austin in a Submission match with Ken Shamrock as a special referee. During the match, Austin had been cut and was bleeding profusely from his face, but he still refused to tap out when Hart locked in his Sharpshooter. Austin finally passed out from blood loss, still held in the Sharpshooter, and lost the match. After the bell Hart continued to hold the Sharpshooter on Austin who, despite his wounds, refused any assistance back to the locker room, thus turning Hart heel and Austin babyface in a rare double-turn. However, Austin portrayed an anti-hero instead of a traditional babyface. Austin eventually got his revenge on Hart in the main event of In Your House 14: Revenge of the 'Taker, in a match to determine the number-one contender to The Undertaker's WWF World Heavyweight Championship. Austin won when Hart was disqualified due to assistance from The British Bulldog, earning him a title match against The Undertaker at In Your House 15: A Cold Day In Hell. Austin faced Hart once again in a street fight on the April 21 episode of Raw, injuring his opponent's leg with a steel chair during the bout. The match was ruled a no-contest. He proceeded to beat Hart while he was on a stretcher in the back of an ambulance. At A Cold Day In Hell, Austin had The Undertaker down with the Stunner but, distracted by timely interference on the part of Brian Pillman, Stone Cold's old tag partner, who rang the bell before Austin got the cover, Undertaker then nailed Austin with a Tombstone Piledriver and achieved the victory off the distraction.
During this time, Austin found a way to win the WWF Tag Team Championship on two separate occasions. On May 26, 1997, Austin and Shawn Michaels defeated Owen Hart and The British Bulldog for the title. They held the title until July 14, before Michaels was forced to vacate due to an injury. That same night a tournament was held to determine who would face Austin and a partner of his choosing for the vacant championship. Hart and Bulldog won the tournament, with Austin refusing to pick a partner and choosing to wrestle the former tag team champions by himself. Late in the match, a debuting Dude Love came out to offer assistance and Austin became a two-time tag team champion. Austin continued his feud with the Hart family, becoming embroiled in a heated rivalry with Owen Hart, who pinned a distracted Austin and secured victory for The Hart Foundation in the ten-man Tag Team match main event of In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede, where Austin was partnered with Ken Shamrock, Goldust, and The Legion of Doom.
At SummerSlam, Austin and Owen Hart faced each other with Hart's WWF Intercontinental Championship on the line and an added stipulation that Austin would have to kiss Hart's buttocks if he lost. During the match, Hart botched a piledriver and dropped Austin on his head, resulting in a legitimate broken neck and temporary paralysis for Austin. As Hart stalled by baiting the audience, Austin managed to crawl over and pin Hart using a roll-up to win the Intercontinental Championship. A visibly injured and dazed Austin was helped to his feet by a number of referees and led to the back. Due to the severity of his neck injury, Austin was forced to relinquish both the Intercontinental Championship and the Tag Team Championships. On September 22, 1997, on the first-ever Monday Night Raw to be broadcast from Madison Square Garden, Owen Hart was giving a speech to the fans in attendance. During his speech, Austin entered the ring with five NYPD officers following, and assaulted Hart. As it looked like Austin was going to fight the officers, Vince McMahon ran into the ring to lecture Austin about why he couldn't be "physically" able to compete. After telling McMahon that he respects the fact that he and the WWF cared, Austin attacked McMahon with a Stone Cold Stunner, leaving McMahon in shock. Austin was then arrested on charges of trespassing, assault, and assaulting a police officer. This marked the beginning of the Austin-McMahon rivalry. Austin was sidelined until Survivor Series. However, in the interim he made several appearances, one being at Badd Blood where he was involved in the finish of a match between Hart and Faarooq, which was the final match in a tournament for the Intercontinental Championship. Austin hit Faarooq with the Intercontinental Championship belt while the referee's back was turned, causing Hart to win the match. Austin's motive was to keep the Intercontinental Championship around Hart's waist, as demonstrated when he interfered in Hart's matches on the October 20 and 27 episodes of Raw. Austin regained the Intercontinental Championship from Hart at Survivor Series.
With Hart out of the way, Austin set his sights on The Rock, who stole Austin's belt on the November 17 episode of Raw after Austin suffered a beating by his Nation of Domination stablemates. In the weeks to come, The Rock began declaring himself to be "the best damn Intercontinental Champion ever". The Rock kept possession of the belt until D-Generation X: In Your House, when Austin defeated him to retain the title and get his belt back. As Austin had used his pickup truck to aid in his victory, McMahon ordered him to defend the title against The Rock the next night on Raw. In an act of defiance after forfeiting the title to The Rock, Austin tossed the belt into a New Hampshire river.
Feud with Vince McMahon (1997–1999)
With Bret Hart's departure for WCW, Austin and Shawn Michaels were the top stars in the company. Austin won the 1998 Royal Rumble, lastly eliminating The Rock. The next night on Raw, Austin interrupted Vince McMahon in his presentation of Mike Tyson, who was making a special appearance, over the objection of McMahon referring to Tyson as "the baddest man on the planet". Austin flipped off Tyson, which led to Tyson shoving Austin much to McMahon's embarrassment, who began to publicly disapprove of the prospect of Austin as his champion. Tyson was later announced as "the special enforcer" for the main event at WrestleMania XIV, although he appeared to be aligning himself with WWF World Heavyweight Champion Shawn Michaels' stable D-Generation X. This led to Austin's WWF World Heavyweight Championship match against Michaels at WrestleMania XIV, which he won with help from Tyson, who turned on DX by making the deciding three-count against Michaels, and later hit him with his knock-out punch. This became Shawn Michaels' last match until 2002 as he had suffered two legitimate herniated discs and another completely crushed at the hands of The Undertaker in a Casket match at the Royal Rumble. With Michaels' absence and winning the WWF title, the Austin Era was ushered in.
On the Raw after Austin won the WWF World Heavyweight Championship, Vince McMahon presented him with a new title belt and warned Austin that he did not approve of his rebellious nature and that things could be done "the easy way or the hard way". Austin gave his answer in the form of another Stunner. This led to a segment a week later where Austin had pledged a few days prior in a meeting to "play ball" with McMahon, appearing in a suit and tie, with a beaming McMahon taking a picture of himself and his new corporate champion. The entire thing was a ruse by Austin who in the course of the segment proceeded to tear off the suit, tell McMahon it was the last time he would see Austin dressed like this, punch his boss in the "corporate grapefruits," and take another picture of the two of them while McMahon was doubled over in pain. In April 1998, it appeared Austin and McMahon were going to battle out their differences in an actual match, but the match was declared a no-contest when Dude Love made an appearance. This led to a match between Dude Love and Austin at Unforgiven: In Your House, where Austin hit McMahon with a steel chair, then the following month they had a rematch at Over the Edge: In Your House for the WWF Championship. Austin managed to retain the title despite McMahon acting as the referee and his "Corporate Stooges" (Gerald Brisco and Pat Patterson) as timekeeper and ring announcer, respectively.
McMahon continued to do everything he could to ruin Austin, and he finally scored a big victory for his side at the 1998 King of the Ring tournament. There, Austin lost the WWF Championship to Kane in a First Blood match after the Undertaker intervened and hit him with a chair while the ref was incapacitated, despite Stone Cold having knocked Kane unconscious and thwarted an earlier intervention by Mankind. Austin further infuriated McMahon by winning back the championship the next night on Raw. Austin also emerged victorious against The Undertaker at SummerSlam. In response, McMahon set up a Triple Threat match at Breakdown: In Your House, where The Undertaker and Kane pinned Austin at the same time. McMahon decided to vacate the WWF Championship and award it based on a match between The Undertaker and Kane, in which Austin was the guest referee. Austin refused to count for either man and attacked both towards the end of the match. McMahon later fired him, although Austin got revenge by kidnapping McMahon and dragging him to the middle of the ring at "gunpoint", which ended up being a toy gun with a scroll that read "Bang! 3:16". Also the segment was very "embarrassing" to McMahon as it showed he was so scared that he urinated his pants. Stone Cold was later re-signed by Shane McMahon. In the semifinals of the Survivor Series tournament to award the vacant WWF Championship, Austin lost to Mankind, after Shane double-crossed Austin. The next night on Raw, Judge Mills Lane ruled that The Rock had to defend his newly won WWF Championship against Austin that night, as stipulated in the new contract Austin had signed two weeks earlier with Shane. The Undertaker interfered and hit Austin with a shovel, earning Austin a disqualification victory, but The Rock kept the championship. At Rock Bottom: In Your House, Austin defeated The Undertaker in a Buried Alive match after Kane Tombstoned The Undertaker into the grave. With this victory, Austin qualified for the 1999 Royal Rumble.
Austin's next definitive chance to exact revenge on Mr. McMahon came during the 1999 Royal Rumble match. On Raw, McMahon drew Austin's entry number with the obvious intention of screwing him over. Austin drew entry number one, while McMahon drew number two thanks to WWF Commissioner Shawn Michaels. During the Rumble match, McMahon slipped out of the ring and into the crowd as Austin chased him down. It turned out to be a trap as McMahon led Austin into the lobby restroom where he was ambushed by members of The Corporation. Austin was injured and taken away in an ambulance. With Austin gone and not in the Rumble match, McMahon joined the announce table in calling the match. Later on, however, Austin returned in an ambulance and re-entered the Royal Rumble, delivering a Stunner to the Big Boss Man and eliminating him. With the assistance of the Corporation and a last minute interference from The Rock, Austin was eliminated by McMahon himself, and McMahon won the 1999 Royal Rumble. With McMahon turning down his number-one contender spot against The Rock, WWF Commissioner Michaels awarded Austin the title shot during Raw the next night. At St. Valentine's Day Massacre, Stone Cold got a one-on-one match against McMahon in a Steel Cage match, with the WWF Championship opportunity at WrestleMania XV at stake. During the match, Paul Wight made his debut, breaking through from under the ring and attacking Austin. Wight's attack propelled Austin into the side of the cage forcing the cage to give way and dropping Austin to the floor first, making him the victor. Austin defeated The Rock at WrestleMania XV to win his third WWF Championship.
Austin faced The Rock in a rematch at Backlash, in which Shane McMahon was the referee. During the match, Vince McMahon approached the ring, only to hand Austin back his 'Smoking Skull' belt and take Shane out of the proceedings. Austin won the match when another referee made the count. The Undertaker, however, won the WWF Championship from Austin at Over the Edge. Due to events revolving around Vince McMahon, Stephanie and Linda McMahon made Stone Cold the Chief Executive Officer of the company. Vince and Shane McMahon challenged Austin to a handicap ladder match at King of the Ring with the CEO title on the line, which the duo of father and son won. The next night on Raw, however, Austin made it clear that while he was the CEO of the company, he could have a title shot at any time and place to be determined by himself. Austin made the WWF Championship match that night on Raw and defeated The Undertaker to win his fourth WWF Championship. However, after he won it, The Undertaker came and hit him with the title belt, leading to a First Blood match between the two at Fully Loaded, where Mr. McMahon stipulated that if Austin lost he would never be able to wrestle for the WWF Championship again, and if Austin won he would never see McMahon again. Austin won after interference from X-Pac, hitting The Undertaker with a TV camera and gave McMahon a goodbye Stone Cold Stunner.
Injury and return (1999–2001)
Austin held on to the WWF Championship until SummerSlam when he lost it to Mankind in a Triple Threat match also featuring Triple H. Austin would get his rematch at No Mercy against Triple H, but he lost after The Rock accidentally struck him with a sledgehammer that was meant for Triple H. When Survivor Series rolled around, Triple H was still champion. Austin was booked into a Triple Threat match for the WWF Championship against Triple H and The Rock. However, Austin was run down by a car in the parking lot. Big Show would replace Austin in the match and would win the WWF Championship. Austin then underwent neck surgery by Dr. Lloyd Youngblood, due to Austin's injury from the piledriver at SummerSlam. He was away for a nine-month rehabilitation, with the car angle as his reason for leaving.
In April 2000, Austin appeared at Backlash, attacking Triple H and Vince McMahon to help The Rock reclaim the WWF Championship. Austin then made an appearance via satellite on SmackDown! in September as him announcing his return at Unforgiven. At Unforgiven, Austin made his official return along with his new theme song, "Glass Shatters" by Disturbed. The company, meanwhile, tried to find out who ran him down at Survivor Series the previous year. Rikishi finally admitted to being the driver because "he did it for the Rock." Rikishi felt that Austin occupied the top spot in the company and with him gone, Rock, a fellow Samoan, would be able to ascend to the top of the company. At No Mercy, Austin was back to face Rikishi in a No Holds Barred match. During the match, Austin motioned he was going to drive his truck into Rikishi, who by that time was a bloody mess. Before he could, he was stopped by officials, the match being deemed no contest and Austin was (kayfabe) arrested and later bailed by Commissioner Mick Foley. During a handicap match against Rikishi and Kurt Angle, Triple H came down with the apparent intention of teaming with Austin. After clearing the ring, Triple H smashed his sledgehammer over Austin's head, and revealed it was actually him behind the whole scheme, devised to shield the WWF Championship from Austin and end his career. At Survivor Series, Triple H had plotted to run Austin down again during their match (thus repeating the events of the previous year's Survivor Series), but his plot failed when Austin lifted Triple H's automobile with a forklift, then let it drop 20 feet, causing Triple H to shout "Holy shit!" just before the car was released. Also, in December, Stone Cold Steve Austin competed in a six-man Hell in a Cell match at Armageddon for the WWF Championship, against Triple H, The Undertaker, Rikishi, Kurt Angle and The Rock. In the end, Austin gave The Rock a stunner and was about to pin him when Triple H came in the way and got a stunner; Angle took advantage of the situation and pinned The Rock and picked up the victory, hence retaining the WWF Championship. After the match, Austin delivered a stunner to Angle, while he was celebrating his victory.
Austin won his third Royal Rumble in January 2001, last eliminating Kane. His rivalry against Triple H ended at No Way Out in a Three Stages of Hell match, with Triple H beating Austin two falls to one. At the same event, The Rock defeated Kurt Angle for the WWF Championship, meaning Austin was set to face The Rock at WrestleMania. In the weeks leading up to WrestleMania, animosity grew between Austin and The Rock, stemming from Austin's wife, Debra, being assigned to be The Rock's manager by Mr. McMahon. Debra would then be relieved of that role after failing to prevent a brawl between Rock and Austin. At WrestleMania X-Seven, Austin faced The Rock for the second time. Before the match began, it was announced that the match had been made no disqualification. Midway during the match, Mr. McMahon made his way to ringside. McMahon then prevented The Rock from pinning Austin on two separate occasions and provided Austin a steel chair to hit The Rock with. Austin then hit The Rock several times with the chair and pinned him to win the WWF Championship. With the victory, Austin became a five-time WWF Champion. After the match Austin celebrated by shaking hands with Mr. McMahon, a man he once considered his nemesis, and sharing a beer with him, shockingly turning heel for the first time since 1997. This decision has been highly criticised by many, including Austin himself. Because Austin was such a top-level face many agree that it made no sense to turn him heel. The next night on Raw, after teasing a quick face turn, the heel turn continued. He also altered his character considerably over the next few months, in a deliberate turn from the rebellious and anti-establishment character beloved by the fans, Austin became a whiny, temperamental primadonna who would complain incessantly when he felt he was not getting the respect from the fans and wrestlers that he deserved. He also developed an infatuation with McMahon, going to great lengths to impress him and even going so far as to hugging him and bringing him presents. McMahon, though visibly uncomfortable and wary by the attention, was still grateful to have Austin with him instead of against him. During a Steel Cage match with The Rock in a rematch for the title, Triple H came down to the ring with a sledgehammer and together with Austin viciously attacked The Rock and put him out of action. Austin further cemented his heel turn the following Thursday on SmackDown! when, during an interview with Jim Ross about his actions at WrestleMania, thought Ross was denouncing their friendship and then proceeded to attack and brutally assault Ross. Austin and Triple H became a team and called themselves The Two-Man Power Trip.
Austin and Triple H were the top heels in the company, and feuding with The Undertaker and Kane. After defeating Kane and The Undertaker for the WWF Tag Team Championship at Backlash, they held the tag team titles, the WWF Championship (Austin), and the Intercontinental Championship (Triple H) all at once. At Judgment Day, Triple H lost his Intercontinental title to Kane. Then, the following night on Raw, Austin and Triple H wrestled against Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit with the tag team titles on the line. Midway through the match, Triple H tore his quadriceps muscle. As planned, the team lost the tag team titles at the end of the match when Triple H accidentally hit Austin in the stomach with a sledgehammer but the injury to Triple H, which kept him out for the remainder of the year, forced the WWF to go in another direction.
Austin officially broke up The Power Trip on that week's SmackDown!, criticizing Triple H for his injury and for hitting him with the sledgehammer. He continued to align himself with McMahon and began feuding with Jericho and Benoit by himself, with Kurt Angle joining the group as Triple H's replacement. For most of the next month leading to King of the Ring, he constantly fell victim to a double submission involving Jericho's Walls of Jericho and Benoit's Crippler Crossface, Austin did not wrestle as he was nursing an injury, but continued to feud with the reigning tag team champions, eventually costing them the titles on the SmackDown! preceding King of the Ring against the Dudley Boyz. Austin defeated Jericho and Benoit in a Triple Threat match, despite interference from the debuting Booker T. Stone Cold would suffer a back injury during the match after Booker T dropped Stone Cold through the Spanish announce table, as revealed in his The Bottom Line DVD.
The Invasion (2001–2002)
After King of the Ring, Austin was left without a feud as Benoit was lost for the next year after neck surgery and Jericho moved on to other things. He began a small spat with Angle over who was McMahon's biggest supporter. Meanwhile, the purchase of World Championship Wrestling (WCW) by McMahon began to bear fruit as The Invasion began. McMahon was not able to fight off the invading WCW wrestlers, and when they formed an alliance with a group of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) alumni that were signed to the WWF and both Shane and Stephanie McMahon were now aligned against their father, McMahon's empire began to crumble and he had zero help from his two biggest stars at the time. Austin made it known that he was against teaming with Angle, whom Austin saw as both a threat to his WWF Championship, as well as an annoying tag-along.
Finally, a frustrated McMahon called Austin out and demanded that he bring "the old Stone Cold" back, even going as far as asking Austin to give him a Stone Cold Stunner, so he could effectively captain a team of WWF wrestlers in a ten-man tag team match at the upcoming InVasion pay-per-view in July. A dejected Austin initially refused, but on the following edition of Raw he returned to his old ways and hit Stunners on every member of the Alliance, turning face again. Then, at InVasion, Austin captained the WWF team consisting of himself, Angle, Jericho, and The Undertaker and Kane against the team of WCW's Booker T and Diamond Dallas Page and ECW's Rhyno and The Dudley Boyz. Late in the match, however, as Angle had Booker in the ankle lock, Austin turned on Angle by Stunning him and joined the Alliance, turning Austin heel once again. The reason why Austin did this was that he felt McMahon was grooming Angle to take over his spot, that he was trying to get in touch with The Rock to return, and that he himself was "unappreciated" when McMahon insisted he return to the old Austin. Austin was immediately made the Alliance's new leader and began to feud with Angle over his WWF Championship.
Also, during this time, Austin would begin his "What?" catchphrase, which he would say randomly while giving a promo. The catchphrase eventually would start to become popular towards the end of the Invasion, and is still used by fans to this day.
Austin lost his title to Angle at Unforgiven by submitting to the ankle lock, but began badgering Angle for a rematch after claiming his hand was under the ropes (which it was). Austin received that rematch on the October 8, 2001 episode of Raw and won the title after WWF Commissioner William Regal betrayed Angle and joined the Alliance. Austin then began feuding with Alliance member Rob Van Dam, who was the only member of the Alliance to be cheered by the fans despite the villainous tactics of the group. Austin faced Angle and Van Dam at No Mercy later that month and won by pinning the latter.
On the October 29, 2001 episode of Raw, Angle joined the Alliance and became the second most powerful wrestler in the group. Survivor Series was coming up, and it was ultimately decided to have a winner-take-all Survivor Series tag match with the winning team becoming the surviving entity. Austin was chosen to captain team Alliance, which consisted of Angle, Shane McMahon, Van Dam and Booker T, against Team WWF which was captained by The Rock, who had returned the week following Austin's betrayal of the WWF at InVasion. The Rock's team included Jericho, Kane, The Undertaker, and Big Show. Before Survivor Series, Austin and Rock rekindled their rivalry at the UK-only pay-per-view Rebellion and Austin successfully defended his WWF title with help from Angle.
At Survivor Series, Austin was one of the last two wrestlers in the match, with The Rock being the other, and was the last remaining hope for the Alliance to survive. Late in the match, Austin attempted to win the match with the Rock Bottom, the Rock's finishing maneuver, but failed to earn a three count. He then kicked out of his own Stone Cold Stunner, which the Rock nailed on him, and attacked two referees including Alliance referee Nick Patrick. With the officials down, Angle ran to the ring and picked up Austin's title belt. He then entered the ring and struck Austin with it, betraying the Alliance and enabling The Rock to hit the Rock Bottom on Austin for the pin and the victory. With that, the InVasion ended, the Alliance was forced to disband, and Austin's future in the company was in question.
Eventually, McMahon decided he was going to strip Austin of the title and award it to Angle for his actions. Just before he could, Ric Flair returned to the WWF for the first time since his 1993 departure and announced he was now half owner of the company. Austin returned moments after this announcement and attacked Angle and McMahon for their actions. He was then handed his title belt by Flair and celebrated with him in the ring, returning to the fans' good graces once again.
Flair then decided that Austin would face off against The Rock, who was still in possession of the former WCW World Heavyweight Championship (which was renamed the World Championship), at the upcoming Vengeance pay-per-view in December to unify the titles. However, since Austin was still feuding with Angle and Rock had an unresolved feud with Jericho over his own title, McMahon overruled Flair and said that both men would wrestle their respective rivals for their respective titles at Vengeance, with the winners to face each other and the winner of that match to be crowned Undisputed WWF Champion. Austin won his first match by defeating Angle with the Stone Cold Stunner and faced World Champion Jericho in the unification match. Austin lost the match after McMahon and Booker T interfered and lost his title. Immediately after, Austin and Booker T began feuding which would lead to various fights in strange venues, such as a church confessional, a bingo hall, and a supermarket.
Last feuds, walkout, and retirement (2002–2003)
Beginning 2002, although Austin's character remained with the WWF's most popular wrestlers as top face, his upcoming storylines in the build-up to WrestleMania were somewhat questionable compared to those of his previous years. In the 2002 Royal Rumble, Triple H made his long-awaited return from injury, with him and Austin two of the last four participants in the ring along with Kurt Angle and Mr. Perfect. Austin was eliminated by Kurt Angle, however he shortly went back in the ring and hit all three with a steel chair. A few days later on Raw, he defeated Kurt Angle to earn a shot at Chris Jericho's Undisputed WWF Championship at No Way Out.
In the build-up to No Way Out, McMahon had re-signed the New World Order (nWo), who started a feud with him after (kayfabe) Austin refused a beer gift following them costing him his match against Jericho. Problems in the backstage creativity were however then seemingly beginning to surface. Austin was reported as being unhappy regarding Hulk Hogan's return to the WWF, and was reported as refusing to lose to Hogan in a proposed match at WrestleMania X8, while Hogan reportedly told McMahon the same regarding losing to Austin. In recent years, Austin has this to say about why the match never took place: "I guarantee you, if my head had been at a little different place, then by all rights, a [match] should have happened", Austin told JR. "Physically and mentally where I was at, I could go. I think Hogan probably would have been a step or two behind that. That wasn't acceptable to me, and I didn't want to slow myself down. I say that with all due respect to Hulk Hogan, because he had a hellacious run. That was my thought process back in the day. I didn't think we could deliver". Consequently, the match was re-billed as The Rock defeating Hogan, whilst Austin defeated Scott Hall, climaxing his feud with the nWo.
In a surprise altercation, the next night on Raw, Austin refused to show up and took a week-long break without the company's consent, claiming exhaustion. McMahon claimed his actions caused fury among fans who had paid to see him that night. Austin returned on the April 1, 2002 episode of Raw, the first of the new "brand extension" era. The show was centered on which show he would sign with, and he ultimately chose Raw. Austin entered a feud with The Undertaker that resulted in a number-one contender's match for the Undisputed WWF Championship at Backlash, which Austin lost despite having his foot on the rope when he was pinned. He would later be betrayed by Big Show, who went on to rejoin the nWo, and Ric Flair. Austin then defeated Big Show and Flair in a handicap match at Judgment Day.
In an interview on WWE television by telephone in May 2002, Austin stunned the company and fans by launching a verbal attack on the direction the company was heading in and slated the creative team for not using him the way he felt they previously did. The commentators struggled to keep Austin's opinions on a neutral wavelength, leading to the WWE apologising to fans for the outburst and stated it was not part of Austin's current or upcoming storylines. McMahon responded a week later on the same show playing down the outburst, claiming that Austin was merely the type of wrestler who was occasionally difficult to work with.
The WWE rehired Eddie Guerrero for Austin to feud with, while also prepping Austin for a feud with Brock Lesnar. Austin, however, vetoed any matches that would result in him losing to Lesnar and ultimately walked out of the company. Austin later explained that he thought hot-shotting a rookie made Austin look weak and did not give Lesnar a proper stage for such a big win over a star of the magnitude that Austin held. Further fanning the flames amongst Austin's growing number of detractors was a well-publicized domestic dispute incident between Austin and his wife Debra.
On June 3, following the dispute with Debra, Austin made his last appearance for WWE on Raw. After Austin no-showed the episode of Raw the following week, his storylines were dropped. Austin walked out again, publicly stating he felt bad storylines were presented to him by the creative team. This time his departure was for good. McMahon, along with longtime Austin supporter and real-life friend Jim Ross, buried Austin on WWE programming, referring to him as "taking his ball and going home" because he wasn't getting his way, whilst also explaining to the fans that neither he nor Ross were able to persuade Austin to change his mind. McMahon insisted that Austin owed an apology to all the fans across the world, especially those who paid solely to see him that night.
McMahon toasted to Austin's career with a beer thanking him for all his hard work nonetheless. The same night, Austin's entrance theme was played during an in-ring segment by Ric Flair, but it was transitioned to Eddie Guerrero's theme and he entered the arena. The Rock also made an appearance on Raw that night, despite being drafted to SmackDown!, and announced his frustrations towards Austin and threw a can of beer at McMahon. Austin's merchandise continued to sell greatly in the weeks following his departure, however with no sign of a return likely to be seen, the company stopped marketing his character, his merchandise, and removed his profile from WWE.com. This period was documented in an episode of WWE Confidential.
For the remainder of 2002, Austin kept a low profile and did not make any public appearances. It was reported however by the end of the year, Austin and McMahon met and resolved their differences. He then agreed to return to the company in early 2003. In an interview with WWE Raw Magazine, he announced deep regret over the situation that led to his departure and the way in which he had left, and deeper regret over inaccurate speculation regarding his alleged grudges held against other WWE wrestlers, claiming he had no problem with Scott Hall rejoining the company. However, he admitted he still held strong reservations about his singles match with Hall at WrestleMania only lasting seven minutes and felt the build-up to the match did not live up to his or Hall's fans expectations, and was angered by speculation suggesting he disagreed with Kevin Nash re-joining the company, insisting he and Nash have always been good friends. In an interview with Vince McMahon on his podcast in 2014, Austin revealed for the first time that McMahon had fined him $650,000 upon his return, however Austin was able to lower the amount to $250,000.
He confessed he had a major rift with Triple H's role in the company upon his return in 2002, but insisted as of 2003 they resolved their issues. In addition, he claimed a brief dispute with The Rock was resolved quickly upon his return, and that none of his disputes with the talent roster continued or played the major part in his departure. In February, Austin returned at No Way Out in a short match against Eric Bischoff. Austin would wrestle only one match between then and WrestleMania in another short match against Bischoff on Raw, but was then defeated by The Rock at WrestleMania XIX, who returned about the same time as a smug, "sell out" villain, which, ultimately, became Austin's last official match in WWE. It was also revealed in the documentary The Mania of Wrestlemania (based around the WrestleMania XIX event) that the letters "OMR", meaning "One More Round", were put on his jacket for his match against The Rock.
The night after on Raw, Bischoff "fired" Austin on medical grounds. The next morning, Austin gave an interview on WWE.com announcing his retirement from wrestling, although he stated that he and Vince McMahon had reached an agreement seeing him only appear in non-wrestling roles on a weekly basis. In reference to Bischoff firing him on Raw that week, he said that although firing was for storyline purposes, he admitted the medical problems read out on Raw were real and mainly related back to his injury sustained at SummerSlam 1997 in a match with Owen Hart, and had begun to seriously plague him since late 2001. He confessed wrestling against the advice of his doctors up to his departure in 2002, which forced him to quit wrestling, and cited this as the sole reason as to why he suddenly departed, with doctors advising an awkward or violent move performed on him could have resulted in Austin being permanently disabled or resulting in death.
Co-General Manager and Sheriff of Raw (2003–2004)
The following week, Austin began his non-wrestling career with the WWE and began a fresh storyline when he was brought back by Linda McMahon as the Co-General Manager of Raw. He continued this storyline for the remainder of the year, still showing wrestling moves including the Stone Cold Stunner and several exchanges of punches and kicks, although limiting regularity of these being performed. On the November 17, 2003 episode of Raw, Austin was "fired" from Raw as the result of a stipulation in a match at Survivor Series where Austin's hand-picked team of wrestlers failed to beat Bischoff's team of wrestlers. After Survivor Series, Mick Foley would become the new Co-General Manager of Raw, and began a (kayfabe) petition to have Austin re-instated. Austin quickly returned to WWE television before the end of 2003 when he was part of the Tribute to the Troops taped live in front of U.S. troops in Iraq, posing and stunning Mr. McMahon. He finally came back on Raw on December 29 as its "Sheriff", giving a Stone Cold Stunner to Eric Bischoff and rehiring Shawn Michaels, who had just been "fired" by Bischoff.
Austin appeared on and off as 2004 began, culminating in him being the special guest referee for the notorious match between Brock Lesnar and Goldberg at WrestleMania XX in which fans cheered for Austin and jeered both Lesnar and Goldberg due to both men announcing their departures from the company following the event. Then, on April 17, WWE put out a press release on their website claiming that Austin and WWE were unable to settle long-running contract disputes and had again parted ways.
Sporadic appearances (2005–present)
Austin made his first appearance on WWE programming in a year at WrestleMania 21 where he was confronted by Roddy Piper in Piper's Pit, until Carlito interrupted to insult both. This resulted in Carlito receiving a stunner from Austin and Piper throwing him out of the ring. The segment ended with Austin and Piper celebrating with beer until Austin gave Piper a stunner as well. Austin was involved in the concluding segment at ECW One Night Stand in which he had a beer bash with the ECW locker room and brawled with the anti-ECW invaders, led by Eric Bischoff. He returned at Raw Homecoming, delivering stunners to Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Linda McMahon. An angle including Jim Ross being fired led to a match in which Austin agreed to face Bischoff's replacement, Jonathan Coachman, at Taboo Tuesday, with the stipulation of Ross regaining his announcing job if Austin wins and Austin losing his own job if he loses. Austin hurt his back prior to the match, and could not wrestle unless he was heavily medicated, so the match was cancelled. To explain away his failure to appear at Taboo Tuesday, Vince McMahon said on Raw that Austin had been involved in an accident, thus preventing him from competing. Batista substituted for Austin, defeating Coachman along with Vader and Goldust. The stipulation was dropped due to Austin not competing.
He returned to WWE briefly to face John "Bradshaw" Layfield in a beer drinking contest at the March 5, 2006 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event. Austin won by disqualification as he saw JBL cheating by pouring the beer down his clothes. JBL threw some beer in Austin's face and tried to run away, but Chris Benoit quickly threw JBL back in the ring. Austin gave a stunner to JBL. Austin inducted Bret Hart into the WWE Hall of Fame on April 1, 2006.
Austin returned to WWE programming (appearing on Raw, ECW, and SmackDown!) in March 2007, partially to promote his starring role in the release of WWE Films' production, The Condemned. On March 31, 2007, Austin inducted Jim Ross into the WWE Hall of Fame. At WrestleMania 23, Austin, as a special guest referee, officiated the match between Bobby Lashley and Umaga. The stipulation for the match was that if Lashley lost, Donald Trump's head would be shaved, and if Umaga lost, Mr. McMahon's head would suffer the same fate. In the course of the event, Austin delivered stunners to Umaga, Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, and Donald Trump. Lashley won the match, and Trump, Austin and Lashley then shaved Mr.McMahon's head. Stone Cold ended by stunning McMahon, as well as Donald Trump. He then appeared in a video on the June 11 episode of Raw as part of "Mr. McMahon's Appreciation Night", where he shared his thoughts on his past feuds with McMahon. Austin appeared on the August 18, 2007 episode of Saturday Night's Main Event, as a possible illegitimate child of Mr. McMahon and stunned McMahon and Jonathan Coachman. He then appeared at SummerSlam to aide Matt Hardy in battling Montel Vontavious Porter in a Beer Drinking Contest. The match ended in a no contest after Austin handed a beer to MVP and gave him the Stone Cold stunner. Austin made another appearance at Cyber Sunday, where he guest refereed a World Heavyweight Championship match between Batista and The Undertaker, which Batista won. On the November 5 episode of Raw, Austin made an appearance to confront Santino Marella for criticizing The Condemned. The argument ended as Marella received a Stone Cold Stunner from Austin, who then walked backstage only to return with a Budweiser beer truck to hose down Marella and his valet Maria with beer. On the Raw 15th Anniversary special, Austin returned after Vince McMahon was attacked by Mankind and the Undertaker. Shortly after, McMahon received a Stone Cold stunner and Austin called out all WWE stars in attendance to the ring to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Raw. The show closed as Austin, Triple H and Hornswoggle poured beer on McMahon, who was knocked out outside the ring.
On October 26, 2008, at Cyber Sunday, Austin was the special guest referee during a match between Batista and Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship. In between the match Stone Cold told a fleeing Jericho that if he was counted out or disqualified, Batista would win the title. During the course of the match, Batista accidentally knocked Austin down. When Austin recovered, Randy Orton, who had come out as the third referee, knocked Austin back down, only to receive a Stone Cold Stunner when Austin recovered. Eventually Batista won the match by hitting his signature Batista Bomb on Chris Jericho, leading Austin to give the three count, making Batista the new World Heavyweight Champion.
On the January 12, 2009, episode of Raw, Austin was announced to be the first member of the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2009. He was inducted by his long-term on-screen rival Vince McMahon, who referred to Austin as "The Greatest WWE [wrestler] of all time". During the induction, there were "one more match" chants, to which Austin said he was officially closing the door on his wrestling career and starting a new chapter in his life. After the Hall of Fame introductions at WrestleMania XXV, Austin's theme music hit, and he re-entered the ringside area wearing a vintage "Austin 3:16" shirt driving an ATV. He then celebrated with a beer bash with the fans and with long-time friend Jim Ross.
Austin returned to the company on the March 15, 2010 episode of Raw as its guest host. On that episode, he moderated a contract signing between Vince McMahon and Bret Hart for their match at WrestleMania XXVI. In the same episode, Austin met up backstage with his longtime rival Shawn Michaels, who asked Austin whether he believed that Michaels could end the Undertaker's undefeated WrestleMania streak in their upcoming match. Austin replied "Hell yeah I think you can beat the Undertaker, but I don't think you're going to, The streak is going to go 18–0". Michaels lost the match extending the Undertaker's streak to 18–0 and forcing Michaels to retire.
In early 2011, Austin was announced as the head trainer and host for the revival of Tough Enough. On the March 7 episode of Raw, Austin interrupted the contract signing of the special guest referee to the Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler match at WrestleMania XXVII, originally scheduled to be John "Bradshaw" Layfield; Austin attacked Layfield and signed the contract instead. Although Lawler won by submission, the Anonymous Raw General Manager reversed the decision and disqualified Lawler, claiming that Austin had "overstepped his authority". He appeared on Raw the following night with the cast from Tough Enough, while also getting into an altercation with The Miz and Alex Riley. On the June 6 episode of Raw, Austin appeared live alongside old rival Vince McMahon to declare Andy Leavine as the winner of Tough Enough. He also served as the Special Guest Referee in the evening's tag team main event, John Cena and Alex Riley vs. The Miz and R-Truth, stunning Miz and aiding Cena. However, the Anonymous Raw General Manager chimed in and the GM's ringside mouthpiece Michael Cole announced that since Austin had abused his authority as referee, The Miz and R-Truth had won via disqualification. Austin did not take kindly to the GM overturning his decision and Cole also received a Stunner, which was followed with another Attitude Adjustment courtesy of Cena. Austin and Cena closed the show, celebrating with a beer bash. Austin appeared as the special guest GM on the "WWE All-Star" edition of Raw. During the show, Austin destroyed the Anonymous Raw General Manager's laptop by running over it with his ATV.
Austin made an appearance on the October 19, 2015 episode of Raw, promoting the Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar match at Hell in A Cell and the WrestleMania 32 event. Austin again appeared on Raw the following week, where he promoted the WWE 2K16 video game.
Austin, alongside Shawn Michaels and Mick Foley made an appearance at WrestleMania 32 to confront The League of Nations, where Austin delivered a Stunner to Rusev and King Barrett. While Austin was celebrating with Michaels, Foley and The New Day, Xavier Woods tried to convince Austin to dance with them in celebration. While Austin reluctantly at first danced along, he later responded by hitting Woods with a Stunner.
Austin had guest roles on Celebrity Deathmatch and Seasons 4 and 5 of CBS's Nash Bridges, where he played San Francisco Police Department Inspector Jake Cage. He has appeared on V.I.P and Dilbert. His motion picture debut was in a supporting role as Guard Dunham in the 2005 remake of The Longest Yard. Austin had his first starring film role, as Jack Conrad, a dangerous convict awaiting execution in a Salvadoran prison, who takes part in an illegal deathmatch game that is being broadcast to the public in the 2007 action film The Condemned.
In 2010, Austin appeared in The Expendables as Dan Paine, the bodyguard and right-hand man for the primary antagonist of the film, played by Eric Roberts. It was his last American theatrical release film until 2013. Austin appeared as Hugo Panzer on television series Chuck. He has also starred in Damage, Hunt to Kill, The Stranger, Tactical Force, Knockout, Recoil, Maximum Conviction, and The Package. In 2013, Austin appeared in Grown Ups 2 as Dennis "Tommy" Cavanaugh. It was his first American theatrical release film since 2010.
In April 2013, Austin started a weekly podcast named The Steve Austin Show which is family friendly, while his second podcast The Steve Austin Show – Unleashed! is more adult oriented. The Steve Austin Show Unleashed is available at PodcastOne. The podcasts get 793,000 downloads a week and has almost 200 million overall downloads. The podcast has also transitioned to a live broadcast for the WWE Network with monthly specials since 2014.
Austin is the host for the reality competition show Redneck Island which began in June 2012 on CMT, and has continued for a fourth season. He announced on his podcast in December 2013 that he has been given green light for Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge, a reality competition show that premiered on July 6, 2014 on CMT. A second season began in 2015. A third season began in 2016.
|1999||Beyond The Mat||Himself||Documentary|
|2005||The Longest Yard||Guard Dunham||Film debut|
|2007||The Condemned||Jack Conrad|
|2010||The Stranger||The Stranger||Direct-to-video|
|2010||Hunt to Kill||Jim Rhodes||Direct-to-video|
|2012||The Package||Tommy Wick||Direct-to-video|
|2013||Grown Ups 2||Dennis "Tommy" Cavanaugh|
|2015||Chain of Command||Ray Peters|
|2015||Smosh: The Movie||Himself|
|Nash Bridges||Detective Jake Cage||1999–2000|
|The Bernie Mac Show||Himself||2005|
|Steve Austin's Broken Skull Challenge||Host||2014–present|
|Stone Cold Podcast||Host||2014–present|
Games that Austin has been in include:
- WCW: The Main Event in February 1994
- WWF War Zone in June 1998 (on cover)
- WWF Attitude in June 1999 (on cover)
- WWF WrestleMania 2000 in October 1999
- WWF Royal Rumble (2000 video game) in August 2000 (on cover)
- WWF No Mercy in November 2000 (feud is central)
- WWF Betrayal in August 2001
- Just Bring It in November 2001
- Road to WrestleMania in November 2001 (on cover)
- WWF Raw (video game) in February 2002
- WWE WrestleMania X8 in June 2002 (on cover)
- SmackDown! Shut Your Mouth in October 2002
- Crush Hour in March 2003
- WWE WrestleMania XIX in September 2003 (on cover)
- Raw 2 in September 2003
- Here Comes the Pain in October 2003
- Day of Reckoning 2 in August 2005
- WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2006 in November 2005
- WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2007 in November 2006
- WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2008 in November 2007
- WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010 in October 2009 (Downloadable Character Only for PS3 & Xbox 360)
- WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011 in October 2010
- WWE All Stars in March 2011
- WWE '12 in November 2011
- WrestleFest in February 2012
- WWE '13 in October 2012
- WWE 2K14 in October 2013
- WWE SuperCard in August 2014
- WWE 2K15 in October 2014
- WWE Immortals in January 2015
- WWE 2K16 in October 2015 (on cover)
Austin dated Kathryn Burrhus throughout high school and college, and the two married on November 24, 1990. Nonetheless, Austin pursued a relationship with Jeanie Clarke ("Lady Blossom"), with whom he was working. His marriage to Burrhus was quickly annulled on August 7, 1992, and Austin and Clarke married on December 18, 1992. Together, they have two daughters, Stephanie (born in 1991), and Cassidy (born in 1996). Cassidy lives with her mother in England, while Stephanie resides in Los Angeles. Austin also adopted Jade, Clarke's daughter with former husband Chris Adams. Austin and Clarke divorced on May 10, 1999. Jade lives in the U.S. with her husband and son.
In December 2007, the Wrestling Observer newsletter reported that Austin legally changed his real name (Steven Williams) to his wrestling name Steve Austin. In late 2009, Austin married his fourth wife, Kristin, with whom he splits his time between Marina Del Rey, California and Tilden, Texas, where he owns the Broken Skull Ranch.
Domestic violence case
On June 15, 2002, Debra Marshall called police to the couple's home Saturday night and told officers that Austin had beaten her on the head, back and legs then stormed out of the house before police arrived. According to police reports, Debra suffered a swollen cheek and eye and bruises to her back and shoulder. Austin called the house while officers were there and was told he was in trouble but declined a request to return to the house or report to the police station. On August 14, 2002, Austin was arrested and charged with domestic abuse. He pleaded no contest on November 25, 2002 and was given a year's probation, a $1,000 fine, and ordered to carry out 80 hours of community service.
Marshall would later claim that Austin was a steroid user and this incident was the result of roid rage. Austin filed for divorce from Marshall on July 22, 2002 and the divorce was finalized on February 5, 2003.
On June 29, 2007, Marshall told Fox News that Austin beat her three times. She also stated that WWE knew of the abuse, working to conceal the bruises on her face, and kept her from revealing that Austin hit her, as it would cost the company millions of dollars.
- Sammond, Nicholas (2005). Steel Chair to the Head: The Pleasure and Pain of Professional Wrestling. Duke University Press. ISBN 0-8223-3438-0.
- Foley, Mick (2000). Have A Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweat socks. Harper Collins. ISBN 0-06-103101-1.
- PSI Staff (2007). Pro Wrestling Illustrated presents: 2007 Wrestling almanac & book of facts. "Wrestling's historical cards" (Kappa Publishing).
- Austin, Steve; Ross, Jim (2003). The Stone Cold Truth. Pocket Books. ISBN 0-7434-7720-0.
- Finishing moves
- Signature moves
- As "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
- Back body drop
- Knife-edged chop
- Leapfrog body guillotine
- Mudhole Stomp (Multiple stomps to the chest of an opponent seated in the corner, with theatrics)
- Pointed elbow drop, sometimes from the second rope
- Running lariat
- Sleeper hold
- Stomp to the opponent's groin
- Thesz press followed by multiple punches
- As "Stunning" Steve Austin
- As "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
- Tag teams and stables
- Entrance themes
- United States Wrestling Association
- World Championship Wrestling
- As "Stunning" Steve Austin
- "A Roman Love" (1991–1993)
- "Satan's Sister" (1993–1995)
- As "Stunning" Steve Austin
- Extreme Championship Wrestling
- As "Superstar" Steve Austin
- World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment/WWE
- As The Ringmaster
- "Ringmaster" by Jim Johnston (1996)
- As "Stone Cold" Steve Austin
- "Hell Frozen Over" by Jim Johnston (October 20, 1996 – October 11, 1998)
- "I Won't Do What You Tell Me" by Jim Johnston (October 12, 1998 – September 7, 2000, December 3, 2001–present)
- "Glass Shatters" by Disturbed (September 24, 2000 – July 22, 2001)
- "Rattlesnake" by Jim Johnston (July 23, 2001)
- "Hell on Earth" by Jim Johnston (July 26, 2001)
- "Paranoid" by Jim Johnston (July 30, 2001 – August 2, 2001)
- "Venomous" by Jim Johnston (August 6, 2001 – November 29, 2001)
- As The Ringmaster
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- Feud of the Year (1998, 1999) vs. Vince McMahon
- Match of the Year (1997) vs. Bret Hart in a submission match at WrestleMania 13
- Most Hated Wrestler of the Year (2001)
- Most Popular Wrestler of the Year (1998)
- Rookie of the Year (1990)
- Wrestler of the Year (1998, 1999, 2001)
- Ranked No. 1 of the top 500 singles wrestlers in the PWI 500 in 1998 and 1999
- Ranked No. 19 of the top 500 singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003
- Ranked No. 50 of the top 100 tag teams of the "PWI Years" with Brian Pillman in 2003
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame
- Class of 2016
- Texas Wrestling Federation
- TWF Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with The California Stud
- World Championship Wrestling
- World Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE
- WWF Championship (6 times)
- WWF Intercontinental Championship (2 times)
- WWF Tag Team Championship (4 times) – with Shawn Michaels (1), Dude Love (1), The Undertaker (1), and Triple H (1)
- Million Dollar Championship (1 time)[a]
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'Stone Cold' came back from a devastating neck injury caused by a botched Owen Hart tombstone at SummerSlam 1997 to become wrestling's biggest star from 1998–2003. The poster boy for the WWF's Attitude Era, 'The Rattlesnake' was a bundle of charisma and energy, whose brawling-based matches exuded intensity and excitement.
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